As third-party cookie restrictions increased, beer manufacturer HEINEKEN USA needed to optimise its first-party data strategy. However, like many FMCG companies, HEINEKEN USA historically lacked direct access to first-party data because retailers stood between the brand and its consumers. Working with customer data platform BlueConic, the company therefore sought to reduce its reliance on third-party data and enable consent-based, one-to-one consumer relationships which were built on a value exchange. Over 12 months, HEINEKEN USA grew the number of identifiable customers with whom they could build direct relationships by 250%.

Objectives & aims

As privacy legislation such as GDPR and CCPA became more prominent and web browsers restricted the use of third-party cookies, HEINEKEN USA wanted to decrease its reliance on third-party consumer data for engagement and customer experience purposes.  This was in addition to the longstanding drawback of third-party data being a shared resource among competitors.

BlueConic needed to help the company create a first-party data strategy to gain new insights, engage customers in ways that were privacy compliant and offered value, and improve media efficiency and effectiveness through advanced segmentation.

Implementation, execution & tactics

The strategy was to create one-to-one relationships with consumers based on a value exchange, where consumers were happy to hand over their data to receive added benefits and a better customer experience.  This data was then combined with other key off and online data and used to create unified customer profiles which would allow HEINEKEN USA to improve its customer experience via better personalisation and targeting, and therefore increase conversions and sales.

For example, HEINEKEN USA gave music festival visitors the opportunity to visit its sponsored tent in exchange for contact details featured on their entrance wristband. This offline data was used to re-engage users with ticket offers to other events. It was also combined with data collected from other online and offline touchpoints such as sweepstakes or virtual events to create single customer profiles.

With access to the consolidated data profiles, HEINEKEN USA was able to address a number of other key challenges, including:

  • Replacing its anonymous, cookie-based data management platform consumer segments with more sustainable ‘owned’, first-party data segments.
  • Building lookalike audiences based on its own first-party data to refine its advertising targeting to consumers who were more likely to convert – therefore improving media efficiency.
  • Mitigating consumer data risk by capturing individual consent and leveraging one system of record to respond to right-to-be-forgotten requests.

The company also used its new first-party data collection and harvesting strategy to add new channels into its marketing strategy. For example, an email marketing pilot was launched to develop direct relationships with new consumers.


HEINEKEN USA’s new first-party data collection, unification, segmentation and activation strategy improved its customer experience and its audience engagement and media efficiency.

Over a year, the new first-party data collection strategy generated a 250% uplift in the number of identifiable customers with whom HEINEKEN USA could build relationships.


2021 DigidayTechnology Awards – Best Customer Data Platform, finalist

2021 ExchangeWire The Wire Awards – Best Use of Data, finalist